How to Combat Financial Anxiety This Holiday Season
If you struggle with financial anxiety, you’re far from alone. According to a recent study from Personal Capital, 65% of Americans say their financial anxiety impacts their overall confidence and 64% say their mental health is affected by money.
This can become especially prominent during the holiday season when your budget may be stretched to pay for gifts and parties. But by learning to combat your financial anxiety, you can help keep happiness in the holidays.
Have Honest Conversations
A common root of financial anxiety around the holidays is feeling as though you have to spend a certain amount on gifts for family members. In some cases, that anxiety may be unfounded. It may be worth opening up a conversation with your family about what your expectations are for the holidays and what you value as a family. You may place more worth on the time you spend together than on the money spent on the gifts you exchange.
By opening up this discussion, you may be able to set some realistic and reasonable boundaries with your family. Chances are you’re not the only one in the family who wouldn’t mind spending less on gifts. Perhaps you can even suggest grab bag or Secret Santa-style gift exchanges. This way, every family member only has to buy one gift. These conversations may be uncomfortable to start. However, most likely once you’ve had these discussions, it can help ease your holiday-related financial anxiety not only this year but for years to come.
Set Boundaries with Yourself
It’s not only important to set boundaries with others, but to hold yourself to certain expectations. Setting a budget that is reasonable for your situation before the holiday season begins can help combat your financial anxiety. However, sticking to it will be key. In order to do so, making a concrete plan will help hold you accountable. Consider how much you can spend and what expenses you’re going to have. Create a system of tracking your budget along the way. It can be a simple handwritten ledger or digital spreadsheet, or you can use a budgeting app. Having a visual representation of your plan will keep you motivated to stick to it. It may also help ease some of the stress.
Debt in any form can be a major source of financial anxiety. And the holiday season is a time when debt can wreak havoc on consumers’ financial situations. The budget you create for your holiday spending should be one that fits your situation without putting you in debt. Many consumers choose to do their holiday shopping on credit cards to benefit from the rewards. This is not a bad strategy as long as you know you can pay off the balance. Without paying off the balance in full, you’ll negate the value of the rewards. You’ll also add to your financial anxiety by putting yourself in debt. If you’re worried about your spending habits or ability to pay off a balance with a credit card, consider using debit or cash for your holiday spending to avoid debt.
Additionally, if your budget included putting some purchases on credit but not paying them off right away, you may want to consider adjusting your budget. You may need to spend less or cut back in other areas to free up some funds.
Financial anxiety is an incredibly common stressor during the holiday season. But the holidays should be a time of joy and spending time with the ones you love. By taking proactive steps to plan and combat this financial anxiety, you can focus on what’s truly important.
For more help with dealing with financial anxiety, contact the professionals at Tayne Law Group!